Apple Wins Access to Information on Android Development History and Motorola Acquisition Talks
Bloomberg reports that a federal judge in Chicago has ruled that Google and Motorola Mobility must share with Apple background information on both the history of Android development and Google's pending acquisition of Motorola as part of an ongoing patent dispute between Apple and Motorola.
The development is a key one for its impact on drawing Google into the patent fight that has until now mostly seen the company staying in the background of the Android-iOS patent disputes with Apple going head-to-head with hardware manufacturers.
Google Inc. and a Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. unit were ordered by the U.S. judge presiding over an Apple Inc. patent lawsuit to turn over information about the development of Google’s Android operating system.
The Motorola Mobility unit and Google must also hand over to Apple information about Google’s pending $12.5 billion acquisition of the mobile-phone maker, U.S. Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner in Chicago ruled yesterday. [...]
“The Android/Motorola acquisition discovery is highly relevant to Apple’s claims and defenses,” Apple’s attorneys’ said in a March 2 filing requesting the judge’s order.
Motorola has argued that it can not compel Google to comply with the order, given that Google acquisition of Motorola has not yet been finalized, but Judge Richard Ponser apparently disagrees with that assessment.
Access to information on Android's development history could provide Apple with more ammunition in its efforts to bring down the platform. Steve Jobs notably referred to Android as a "stolen product" in his biography, vowing to wage "thermonuclear war" with Apple's entire cash hoard in an effort to destroy Android. Apple has won several court decisions against hardware manufacturers over their Android-based products, forcing minor tweaks to their functionality and/or design in several markets, but it has not yet struck a crippling blow to either the hardware companies or Android itself.